LITTLE ROCK More than a dozen counties in northern and north-central Arkansas are under an ice storm warning as a system with the potential to deliver snow and ice approaches the region.
The National Weather Service said parts of the state could see a half-inch or more of ice and 1 to 3 inches of snow in the storm, which began early Wednesday afternoon in western Arkansas as a mix of sleet and freezing rain.
"Roads are expected to become treacherous, especially bridges and overpasses," the weather service said, noting the most significant icing would happen after midnight. "Widespread power outages are likely to occur."
The weather service forecast that the precipitation will begin as sleet and snow for northern and western counties. Central and eastern counties may see a mixture of rain and freezing rain as temperatures hover above freezing, but most counties south of Interstate 40 should see only rain.
Late Wednesday afternoon and into the evening, the precipitation in the northwest and north-central counties is expected to transition to some sleet and snow, then to sleet and freezing rain after midnight. Some ice and snow accumulations are possible overnight throughout the advised areas, but especially in the northwest and north-central counties.
On Thursday, north Arkansas is expected to see freezing rain and sleet for a good part of the day. In central Arkansas, freezing rain should turn to rain as the day progresses. Warning Coordination Meteorologist John Robinson said in an e-mailed statement the greatest amount of precipitation statewide will occur between 3 a.m. and noon Thursday.
A winter weather advisory is in affect for a band of several counties north and west of I-40, including Pulaski County.
The ice storm warning goes into effect at midnight for Baxter, Boone, Cleburne, Conway, Fulton, Izard, Johnson, Marion, Newton, Pope, Searcy, Sharp, Stone and Van Buren counties.
A separate winter storm warning is in effect for Northwest Arkansas, which is bracing for up to 3 inches of snow and sleet, and up to a half-inch of ice.
"Some driving problems are expected, but accumulations of freezing rain and sleet will be much less [in central Arkansas] than farther north," Robinson wrote.